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City of Napa may soon allow adult-use retail sales of cannabis products

Cannabis

This May 20, 2019, file photo, shows a marijuana leaf on a plant at a cannabis grow in Gardena, Calif. 

Retail sales of cannabis products for adults age 21 or older may soon be allowed in the city of Napa.

A draft update to the city’s cannabis ordinance that would allow for adult-use storefront sales of the drug is headed to the Napa City Council on Tuesday. City staff is recommending the council give the go-ahead on preparing a final update; ultimate approval for the amendment would need to be approved by the city's planning commission, and then go to the Napa City Council at a later date.

Only medical retail sales of cannabis products are currently allowed within city limits, which means customers are required to present a physician-approved medical-use card when purchasing the products. If the amendment is approved, retailers would need to apply for a separate license that would allow for adult-use cannabis sales.

Recreational cannabis use was legalized in California in 2016 when residents — 61% of voters in Napa County and 57% overall — approved Proposition 64. But most California cities have been slow to embrace cannabis businesses; most still don’t allow adult-use sales.

A coalition of five of Napa’s medical cannabis retailers — Napa Cannabis Collective, Harvest House of Cannabis, Perfect Union, Herbivore and Abide — sent a letter to the city last month requesting the city approve the amendment and place a two-year moratorium on any new cannabis retail applications.

Doing so would allow the current cannabis retailers and applicants a chance to stabilize financially, according to the letter. The moratorium would also give the city time to decide how and if to place a limit on the number of storefront dispensaries allowed in the city, the letter says.  

“The last two years have been hard on all businesses in Napa and ours are no different,” says the letter. “We are currently doing all we can to increase sales and become financially sustainable.”

The coalition letter goes on to say that a cap on the number of retail dispensaries could further allow the businesses to become financially stable and sustainable because “the amount of cannabis sales in the City will be split between the dispensaries.”

Additionally, the letter says allowing for adult-use cannabis sales will boost the city’s economic development, increase tourism, allow for safe access to the drug and increase the city’s tax base. Currently, many community members and tourists drive out of town to buy cannabis, order it from out-of-town delivery companies or turn to the unregulated illegal market, the letter says.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic has devastated tourism and ravaged local government budget,” says the letter. “Cannabis brings a unique opportunity to stabilize and build tourism. People are traveling from all around the world to taste Napa’s fine wines, and now it's fine cannabis.”

The city of Napa recycling department is hosting a free Halloween costume exchange at the Tuesday Farmers Market and the Napa Library. Donate or pick up a gently used costume for FREE.

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You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.

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